Saturday, 14 November 2009

South Wales Echo - Sat 14 November 2009

Mr E - My auntie worked in this factory for over forty years! Also cousins and a family friend!!
It is on Penarth Road, which is a five minute drive from Cardiff Bay... not far at all.
Here is the article...
THE BBC is understood to be in talks with the owners of the Freeman’s cigar company in Cardiff with a view to taking it over.

Scenes from the upcoming series of hit television sci-fi show Doctor Who have recently been filmed in the Penarth Road factory and the Echo has learned that the BBC has been involved in talks to take over the 220,626sq ft location.

It is understood that Llandaff-based BBC Wales is considering using the site as part of its mooted “drama village”, which bosses hope will enable popular programmes like Doctor Who, Torchwood, Casualty, Merlin and Pobol y Cwm to be produced on one site.

A spokeswoman for the BBC said they could neither confirm nor deny the move.

“An announcement on the BBC Cymru Wales property strategy will be made in due course,” she said.

It was also announced earlier this year that the exact location where hospital drama Casualty will be produced from 2011 depends on value-for-money evaluations and a decision on that will be announced later this year.

Workers at the factory, which is for sale or to let with chartered surveyors Corporate Property Partners, have been leaving in stages over the past 12 months.

Production has been moved from Cardiff to Lisnafillan, near Ballymena in Northern Ireland, by Japan Tobacco, the world’s third-largest tobacco company.

Paul Williams, head of corporate affairs and communications at JTI, the firm’s international division, said: “The factory is yet to be decommissioned but has been on the market since July and there has been a lot of interest.”

A former employee, who did not want to be named, said: “The factory was a great place to work. Everyone was upset when it was announced it was closing because we were all like a family.

“But if the rumour is correct and the building will be used again, then I think that is a positive and exciting time for Grangetown.”

JR Freeman started in 1839 and produced tobacco in South Wales, including Hamlet cigars. The factory was first located in Bridge Street, Cardiff, and later moved to North Clive Street, Grangetown, where the famous Manikin cigars were first produced in 1912.

In 1947, JR Freeman joined the Gallaher Group and production was moved to a new 10-acre factory in Penarth Road in October 1961.

At one time, the company employed almost 1,000 people, mainly women, and in their heyday, both the Cardiff and Port Talbot factories were producing nearly one million cigars a day.

No comments: